Spirituality is meant to bring about peace. Yet our concepts of spirituality often lead to confusion or even conflict. What we need are clear steps that can be taken by people of any religion or intellectual standing. The following universal road map can be a helpful aid to self-realization.
Realize that you’re in there. First realize, from deep inside, that you are consciously experiencing the outside world, as well as your inner thoughts and emotions.
Understand that you’re not okay in there. If you want to understand why you’ve done everything you’ve ever done, observe your mind and emotions. If you’re objective, you’ll see that you’re really never completely at peace.
Notice that you’re always trying to be okay. As you observe your inner state, you’ll notice that inner disturbances create the urge to either get something or avoid something. This is all done in an attempt to feel okay inside.
Watch as your mind strives to figure out how everything needs to be for you to be okay. Your mind is always telling you how people, places and things need to be. That’s its attempt to create a conceptual model of what would make you okay and then try to get the outside world to match it.
Realize that defining how the outside needs to be is not working. You’ve been busy trying to be okay your entire life. Although some times are better than others, you’ve never come close to experiencing permanent peace. This is because the world will never match your conceptual model. Eventually, you’ll come to see that this approach doesn’t work, and you need to find a different way.
Learn to not participate in the mind’s struggle. You must learn to relax inside and not get drawn into acting on your disturbances. Instead, be willing to allow them to pass through you and simply witness their passing. If you do, the drama will cease of its own accord.
Experience going about your life like everyone else, except more peacefully, because nothing you do is for the purpose of trying to be okay. When you aren’t preoccupied with trying to be okay, you can learn to sit inside and quietly love, serve and honor whatever naturally unfolds. At this point, you’re no longer living for yourself—you’re serving life.
As you let go of the personal energies, you attune to a much deeper energy flow. Up to this point, everything you were watching inside was front and center in your consciousness. Now that you’re no longer being drawn into personal thought and emotions, you’ll begin to feel Spirit flowing in from behind. It lifts you and brings great love and joy.
Your inner experience becomes so beautiful that you fall in love with the energy flow. You’ll see that there is a trade-off between getting involved in personal energies and the amount of Spirit you feel. Once you’ve established a direct relationship with spiritual energy, you’ll long to constantly experience its freedom.
You begin to feel the energy pulling you up into it, and your entire path becomes letting go of yourself in order to merge. Will is no longer needed. All that’s left is learning to surrender into the higher energy. You must be willing to die personally in order to be reborn spiritually.
Once you dwell deep in the upward flow, you realize that your personal existence can go on without you, leaving you free to live completely immersed in Spirit. This is the greatest miracle: You’ve surrendered your entire being to Spirit, yet people, places and things continue interacting with you. But now these interactions require none of your energy; they happen by themselves, leaving you at peace and absorbed in Spirit.
Now you are truly okay. Nothing inside or outside of you can cause disturbances—you have come to be at peace with everything. Because you are now completely okay, you don’t need anything. Things just are what they are, and nothing can disturb you. You’ve transcended the world and everything in it. Instead of feeling drawn into Spirit, you now actually experience yourself as Infinite Spirit.
Michael A. Singer is the author of The New York Times bestselling book, The Untethered Soul – The Journey Beyond Yourself (UntetheredSoul.com). His “Twelve-Step Guide to Spiritual Awakening” is the basis for this article.